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Technology continues to play a significant role in the changing public relations industry as companies adjust their approaches to PR.
Public relations tactics are now completely different compared to 20 years ago as everything moves inside the Digital Marketing arena and the reputation of a company often rests on what’s happening online.
Let’s explore some of the changes technology has brought to the public relations industry.
Monitoring Social Media
Monitoring the media has always been one of the most crucial aspects of public relations, but how it gets done has completely changed thanks to technology.
In the past, media monitoring meant checking the local and national press, mainly via newspapers, television news and radio programs.
“I remember a time when media monitoring used to mean literally cutting up newspapers and mailing them to the client,” Neli Ngqulana, a journalist and public relations expert, recently told Prowly.
Today, there is a lot more data to be monitored on the Internet and that’s why so many businesses rely on data science for their marketing and public relations.
Media monitoring now includes and mostly focuses on checking social media impressions. While the press is still valuable, more crucial is getting a better understanding from social media of what people are saying about a company.
Taking Advantage of Influencers
Years ago, this tactic would have sounded crazy but in today’s social media age, everyday people turned influencers have such significant power over customers that they cannot be ignored and must be tapped by public relations experts to address the audience of many companies.
Public relations companies must work closely with influencers to improve a brand’s visibility and reputation. Forbes has opined that “the voice of the customer has always been one of the most powerful concepts in marketing, and today’s social media platforms act as one giant megaphone for that voice.”
By working with influencers, public relations companies gain access to a new level of customer engagement and brand reputation. Influencers are key to boost a company’s reputation.
The Importance of Online Reputation
If a company does not have an online presence, it simply does not exist in the eyes of customers. But a presence alone is not enough.
It has become imperative for public relations companies to ensure a stellar reputation is maintained online and this is why companies are allocating more and more of their resources to Digital Marketing.
Tracking Performance Results
Public relations companies are now able to track the performance of campaigns unlike any time in the past when only newspapers were used to gauge results.
Katie Delahaye Paine, CEO of Paine Publishing, recently told Prowly: “Savvy PR pros have already switched to measuring either attitudinal changes, such as increased consideration and preference, or behavioral changes, as measured by conversions, web traffic, and leads.”
Search Engine Optimization, a fundamental aspect of Digital Marketing, has become a key tool for public relations, along with website traffic trackers and social media tools like TweetDeck, for example.
Investing in Research
Public relations research drastically changed the moment we started using Big Data. Before Big Data, people collected information from long lists of marketing agencies or press releases in a newspaper.
Today, we have everything at our fingertips, literally. Google is a great tool for public relations companies to find almost any type of info. Agencies or journalists can also be hired to secure specific information not so easily found through a Google search.
The Impact of Visuals
It is no longer just photographs and programs on television that must be tapped by public relations firms.
Streaming has revolutionized the way brands show themselves to the world. Experts say that there will be several more advancements in this area in the future, such as holograms, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
Streaming has also become one of the primary sources for crisis control in public relations.
Immediate Crisis Control
Although all these technologies have made it easier for public relations companies to connect with customers and track trends, they have also led to a shortened window to respond to a crisis.
In the past, companies could have prepared a crisis control response in hours or days. Today, everything has to be answered immediately because users have more access to information at speeds never seen before.
Social media management now plays a huge role in crisis control and could help alleviate problems if used wisely.
Technology has changed the public relations industry forever. But this is the way communication evolves and companies must stay on top of the trends to have successful public relations strategies.
Curious to see the changes from a Journalist’s perspective? Check out our Coffee with a Journalist podcast where we talk with journalists from some of the leading outlets about how they respond to pitches, craft stories, and more! To start, listen in on our conversation with Eugene Kim, Chief Correspondent at Business Insider about his pitch inbox, the power of the interview, and finding stories in the data.